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HonestReporting together with Take-A-Pen covered this afternoon's hearing in France where raw footage of the Mohammed Dura was publicly screened for the first time. HonestReporting/Take-A-Pen's Alain Benjamin, who saw the video in court, discussed by phone the proceedings with MediaBackspin editor Pesach Benson.
What did the raw footage show?
We can definitely say that nobody can say who was shooting at who. Charles Enderlin said in court that the Palestinians started shooting first, but in the end, there's no way we can say what happened that day. You can't tell who did what. The assertion from Charles Enderlin, that the Israeli army killed the boy, is totally wrong. The least he could've said was that the boy was killed--but we don't know by who.
There was a dispute over how much footage was to be screened. Was the full video shown?
Charles Enderlin submitted 18 minutes of footage. The judge, without any prompting from Philippe's lawyers, asked what happened to the 27 minutes. Enderlin said on record in court that he had to manipulate some footage that was not relevant to that day. He said he transferred the footage onto DVD for the court. That was amazing.
So she asked if anyone in attendance had seen the full footage. Luc Rosenzweig was there, stood up , and said he saw a tape that was more than 20 minutes long. Richard Landes also stood up. He saw the footage at Enderlin's office. He said the timer he saw was at least 21 minutes long. The judge basically let that issue rest, but there was serious doubt hanging over the room that the footage was tampered or doctored.
After the hearing ended, how did people react to what they saw?
Not one person believed that the version of France 2 was right. Some people maintained that the footage was staged. Others think the footage was real. Clearly, nobody believed that anybody died.
Does the footage vindicate Karsenty?
Everyone was going, "Wow" and talking about whether he'll take action against France 2 for trying to swindle the court. He can wait for the verdict, or sue France 2 for tampering with the tape. He has quite a few options. Clearly, the judge wasn't convinced by France 2's version. The judge's verdict is to be given on February 27.
How did the France 2 people react after the hearing?
France 2 left immediately. They just ran out and left. They didn't want to speak to anyone.
Some people were concerned that reviving the footage would harm Israel's image.
There's absolutely no reason to be concerned for that now.
How was the media turnout?
Very large. There were four or five TV crews, 30 journalists from TV, radio and print. Only a third of the journalists and public could get in to the courtroom to see the footage. The whole thing was delayed because of the crowd. They came from all over. At one point, I saw Philippe being interviewed by Kuwaiti TV.
What's the most important lesson to take from today?
One guy stood his ground for four years. It's a lesson in perseverance.
Israel should take a cue from this trying to pursue the truth rather than put what they can under the carpet quickly. If Israel's P.R. people had pursued all these different things that showed this wasn't Israel's fault, things would've turned out differently.
The other lesson sheds a light on a process very wide spread in the region. People don't realize that Palestinians get their jobs as journalists because they're sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. They're out to push an agenda. It's up to the news services to disclose that they're using local TV personnel to capture breaking news.
Stay tuned for Alain's video coverage outside the courthouse.
UPDATE: Watch Alain Benjamin's video coverage.
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1. The picture itself shows an adult (the father) with his head sticking out above the drum - would he not have held it down? 2. The boy (the son) appears behind the father - does this not mean that Arab Palestinians don't protect their children with their bodies? Unless, of course, the two are posing for the camera. One did not need to examine bullet trajectories to see the obvious fraud. But how can one explain the willingness of Arabs to portray the callousness of fathers to their children?
Excellent work. This covered all the bases and I'm impressed how quickly you got it online.
I am puzzled by this: "...but there was serious doubt hanging over the room that the footage was tampered or doctored." Is the writer saying that there was or was not doubt that the footage had been tampered with. I read it to say that there was doubt that the footage had been tampered with, but that seems strange.In view of the missing minutes, are they doubting that the footage had been tampered with. One can only wonder why the Court didn't hold the people from France 2 in contempt for failing to produce the entire tape unedited, as ordered.
1. why was it necessary for the IDF to immediately apologize? do you think it brought us good will?
2. an autopsy might have been done, sure it could have been an Israeli bullet or not, doesn't matter what we do - we are univesally hated anyway
3. meanwhile Israeli Jews went on treating wounded Arabs to this day repairing heart of Iraqi children.
France 2 deserve to pay for the damage they have done to Israel and innocent Israelis & Palestinians. Philippe is the man - well done on standing firm against French media-lites whose job it is to destroy Israel's image and to intimidate those who pursue the truth, as Philippe has done.
herb - there never was a body, or a funeral.
If there were a body, the Palis would not have missed the opportunity use the funeral as another PR set-piece.
allowing an idiot to hang himself with the rope that you provide to him is so beautifully ironic! am yisrael chai.
The least he could've said was that the boy was killed--but we don't know by who.
We don't know whether or not the boy was killed at all. It seems from what I saw that he was NOT killed at that time and place.